The Wisconsin Departments of Children & Families and Health Services will use a $1.16 million grant funded through section 511 of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) to improve the quality of home visiting services in at-risk communities throughout the state. States receiving this funds will “assess statewide needs and identify at-risk communities.” The assessment should, among other things, identify “the quality and capacity of existing programs or initiatives for early childhood home visitation the State.”
A joint press release from the two Departments outlines more specific uses for the funds. Wisconsin plans to use the allocation to help local communities improve maternal and newborn health, school readiness, and community resource collaboration; and to reduce child maltreatment, child injuries, and domestic violence. The state will target communities with high rates of: poor birth outcomes, poor maternal and child health, poverty, crime, domestic violence, high school dropouts, substance abuse, unemployment, and/or child maltreatment.
The Departments have already begun their work on Wisconsin’s Home Visiting Initiative. Existing home visiting programs, including Early Head Start, are being surveyed in order to gather a comprehensive picture of the current status of home visitation programming in our state. Early Head Start programs are encouraged to complete the survey by Monday, August 16.